Not Buying Trip Insurance!
I know everyone’s always excited about their vacation plans and where they’re going while also concerned about the cost. Some people choose to overlook the need for trip insurance and some don’t understand it’s value or how to choose the right one for them. We all have preconceived ideas about the importance of insurance or lack thereof. I, personally, am an insurance girl. I believe in it and although I hate paying for it (among 10 other bills) I understand it’s importance and the protection it affords me. Let’s discuss what trip insurance is all about when you should purchase it, and why.
There are many examples of when trip insurance is a necessity and many where you’re just grateful you had it.
None of us plan to get hurt or ill while we are traveling. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want. You never know when appendicitis is going to pop up, or you tripping over that rock while on your tour, or you slip on a patch of ice in Budapest like I did in December. Miscellaneous pains are easily handled by seeing a doctor or visiting the pharmacy. As costs are minimal and out of pocket wouldn’t it be nice to be reimbursed. Something like appendicitis, on the other hand, requires hospitalization. Who is paying for that? If you’re traveling outside of the US most insurances are invalid and you’re totally on your own and an abundance of countries require payment upfront before any services are rendered, including surgery.
Wherever you live in the United States there is always a possibility of weather delays. It could be tornadoes in the Midwest, nor’easter’s in the Northeast, hurricanes in the Southeast, or wildfires on the West Coast. These all have ways of affecting our travel especially since most of the airlines have hubs in different cities all over the country. While the weather might be beautiful where you are, the airport your plane is supposed to be flying from could be shut down due to weather. The only thing worse than a delayed flight is a canceled one. I mean how bad could it be right. As bad as starting your vacation a day, two, or three days later knowing you have paid for those days and nights even though you were not there. As bad as having to stay another night or longer on your vacation while paying for the extra night/s or not being able to return to work on time. Even better yet is staying on vacation and all the hotels are booked up or available at a premium price! Maybe the worst is having your flight canceled during your layover in unknown city or country. Did you know that airlines are not responsible to provide any food or hotel vouchers for weather delays? Last March, when New York was getting hit practically every week with a snowstorm shutting down all three major airports, my flight was canceled from Johannesburg to JFK. Many on my flight were rebooked on flights three and four days later. I was able to grab a flight on another airline for my son and I the next day and I was reimbursed for both seats on the new flight.
I have heard from some clients “I’m going on vacation no matter what” and although you might truly feel that way sometimes there unforeseen circumstances which make it impossible. The no matter what doesn’t include the car accident you had on the way to the airport (remember someone could hit you) or a week earlier. It doesn’t include the unexpected death of an immediate family member or a layoff from your job. It doesn’t include a medical diagnosis that keeps you from getting on a plane or leaving the country. And it doesn’t include a fire in your home or 1 million other things that we think would never happen to us but do truly happen to someone on a daily basis.
After missing out on your dream vacation how would you handle the loss of your financial investment?
OK now that we’ve gotten past all the stuff that we’d like to avoid here’s what you get when you purchase trip insurance. It can cover hospitalizations, seeing the ship doctor on a cruise, the cost of medicine in the pharmacy, reimbursement on hotel nights, meals during your delay, taxi/Uber fare, lost luggage, and even the entire cost of your trip (excluding the trip insurance premium). Some coverages also include emergency and medical evacuation. Its purpose is to make you whole financially. So you’re sold now the question is: Where should you purchase your trip insurance from?
All Trip Insurance Is Not Created Equal
Trip insurance is often offered when you purchase an airline ticket or make a hotel reservation. This type usually only covers the ticket you purchased or the reservation you made but not the entire trip and often doesn’t include medical coverage. Options like this are great for traveling domestically. There often is trip insurance through your credit card company that also is limited in coverage so be sure you read exactly what is covered. You may purchase cruise insurance which at times is limited to a partial refund or future cruise credit. Last but not least is trip insurance directly from an insurance agency such as Travel Guard, Allianz, and Travelex. Insurance companies offer many types of coverage to meet most people’s needs. Coverage is also different for those in different states so it is always best to thoroughly read through the coverage provided to you in your state of residence.
Well, there you have it! An informative blog post about one of the most boring topics regarding travel which may save you thousands of dollars one day. Don’t thank me now, just buy it!
Have you ever had a vacation flight canceled? Did you or someone you know get sick overseas? Let us know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post and found it informative remember sharing is caring!
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Martha’s Vineyard has always been known as a vacation playground for the traveling elite. This intimate island is definitely a vacation playground with a lot less of the glitz and glam of other hotspots like the Hamptons. I have had the pleasure of visiting almost every summer for the past 28 years and below you will find my greatest tips for exploring MV as a vacation destination. You will find this small island off the coast of Massachusetts is ideal for laid back vacations and should definitely be on your travel list.
About The Island
Martha’s Vineyard, or the Vineyard as it’s fondly called by residents and summer visitors, is located in the southern portion off the coast of Cape Cod and is approximately 87 square miles. There are 7 towns which comprise of Tisbury (includes Vineyard Haven and West Chop), Edgartown (Chappaquiddick& Katama), Oak Bluffs (East Chop), West Tisbury, Chilmark (Menamsha), and Aquinnah. A large percentage of visitors stay in the main towns of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. It is fascinating how each town has its own vibe and soul as well as aesthetic. West Tisbury and Aquinnah are what we call soggy towns. They only sell beer and wine. Chilmark is a dry town so you need to bring any alcohol with you.
You can drive the entire island in less than a day and see all of its treasures but it would take months to enjoy them all. The island is home to approximately 16,000 year-round residents and hosts anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 visitors a day during summer. There are no stoplights, no fast food places such as McDonald’s or Taco Bell, or franchises except for Stop & Shop, Dairy Queen, Clarion Inn Hotel, and national rental car companies which adds to its charm. I think of it as an artisans’ island, where many art galleries, bookstores, and playhouses are located. Several book signings, musical and dance performances, public talks on politics and societal issues, artists openings, and different festivals or outdoor markets occur multiple times weekly in the summer providing an option to please everyone. If you are a beach lover there are over 19 beautiful and distinctive beaches both public and private to fit anyone’s particular wants and needs.
When To Visit
Of course, just like many places, you can visit the Vineyard all year round but typically most people vacation there from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The island has great shoulder seasons though, with beautiful weather and fewer people. You should definitely consider it as an alternate option if you want a more secluded feel. It’s also important to note that you can and should visit during the holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s for a real small town celebratory experience. I have fond memories of the few holidays I spent there. Although many shops and some restaurants are closed during that time, you still have a decent amount of excellent options to choose from and get to really know some of the residents.
July and August are in high season, with August moving past July in regards to the number of visitors. This is when 1 million and one activities take place leaving the island buzzing all around creating lines for the best breakfast spots (you either chat with someone new or window shop), seasonal traffic, and many pedestrians coming in and out of town. During this time the Vineyard host several events weekly, many are my favorites, which add to the number of travelers, such as the African-American Film Festival, the Comedy Festival, many fraternities’ and sororities’ events, charity fundraisers, art walks, and book signings. During the third week of August, Wednesday starts the busiest time with Illumination Night in the Gingerbread Cottages Campground in Oak Bluffs, the AG Fair in West Tisbury, and the Oak Bluffs fireworks. Anyone who lives or comes from the city won’t be bothered by the number of people in August.
Where To Stay
Now that you are sold on visiting where should you stay you say? You want to stay, typically, in one of these three towns: Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, or Edgartown as it’s easy to get around just by walking or biking. If you want real seclusion or a lot of space then you should head out to Chilmark, West Tisbury, or Aquinnah. There aren’t enough hotels or B&Bs for everyone who visits during the summer months, which is why renting a home is extremely popular if your stay is longer than four days.
If it’s a short visit, my favorite choices are the Mansion House or Vineyard Square in Vineyard Haven, the HarborView Hotel, Hobknob Inn or Nobnocket Boutique Inn in Edgartown, the Summercamp, MV Surfside, or the Dockside Inn in Oak Bluffs. Outside of these towns, your best choices are the Winnetu Oceanside Resort, Lamberts Cove Inn, Beach Plum Inn, and the Menemsha Inn. If you are looking for a home rental it’s best to contact a travel consultant who knows the island, an island realtor, or a referral through someone you trust who has stayed at the property. Some properties include ferry tickets to bring your car over and some don’t include any linens so you would either bring your own or rent them on Island.
How to Get There
Well, it’s an island and the only way you can get there is either via plane or ferry, or a combination of plane, train, bus, or automobile. There is no long bridge or tunnel that connects the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard which you could drive through. This exclusivity is part of the hype because not everybody is willing to dedicate the time it takes to get there. Things are much easier now than when I started going 28 years ago. It wasn’t as many options. Now you can fly directly onto the island with air carriers such as Jetblue and Delta from many cities direct like New York, Boston, and Washington DC. You can also fly to Boston and catch the Peter Pan bus to Woods Hole, then the ferry to Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. There are fast ferries from New York, and Providence, Rhode Island. The ferries from Woods Hole allow you to bring your car. Options for driving your car are driving to Woods Hole and parking in one of their many lots before taking the ferry over, or you can pay to bring your car over on the ferry as well. The latter option requires much planning and reservations made months in advance.
Martha’s Vineyard has an excellent public transportation system so a car on Island isn’t a necessity. The bus system rides through all seven towns often and has room for bicycles. This is an ideal way to get around the Vineyard. There are also several rental car companies so you can choose a car for just a day, a week, or a month. Biking is also a pretty good option and both Oak Bluffs and Edgartown have substantial bike paths independent of the roads. Of course, there are always taxis, van shuttles, Uber and Lyft. The best and most direct option would be to fly into Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) and avoid all of the Cape Cod weekend traffic. The only problem with that is you miss out on the ferry ride over which is my favorite part to kick off my stay.
Must Do Experiences
Here are items that are on my list every summer to accomplish when I visit. So many things to check out and so little time unless you’re able to stay for a few weeks or for the entire summer. Fortunately for me, I take that option often since I am now traveling from Florida. So I’m able to squeeze in some relaxing time as well as engage in every island activity that piques my interest. Here are the things you must do when you are in Martha’s Vineyard, either for a day trip or a vacation and enough left over to bring you back for more. First on the list is to wait on line to purchase a freshly made, hot donut from Back Door Donuts. Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes if you go after 8 pm (and you should). Jump off the bridge at State Beach is another iconic thing to do in Martha’s Vineyard for kids and adults (there is usually a small wait for others to jump) and make sure someone gets it on video and you bring a teeshirt home. These two items are a right of passage for anyone visiting the Vineyard.
Children of all ages (that includes you) will get a thrill out of riding the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs in hope of catching the brass ring. It is the oldest operating carousel in the United States. If you are an early riser or just want to meet some people then head over to the Inkwell (2nd section of beach from Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs) to swim with the Polar Bears. Yep, this group of men and women meet early, daily to swim and exercise in the refreshing waters, as well as socialize about what has and is going on in Martha’s Vineyard. I have so many things I love to do while there that I couldn’t possibly list them all here but I couldn’t cut these specific to the Island experiences. One of the last 3 things I highly recommend is visiting the Edgartown Lighthouse. There is a small fee to climb to the top and take in the views (my daughter still loves doing this and she’s 23). The last two are my absolute favorites and I wouldn’t be able to decide on just one. You must experience a Menemsha sunset on Menemsha Beach with a picnic style lobster dinner (my favorite is from Larsens and you need to call ahead to order). Bring a blanket or chairs, some drinks, and sides, then just pick up your lobster with it’s already cracked shell and dunk it in that wonderfully melted butter while watching the sunset is heaven on earth. Last but not least is Outdoor Shakespeare and set in the middle of a tree heavy park next to an stunning cove. A different performance is played each summer. It’s a little hard to find by itself until you see all the cars lined up alongside the road and then you walk about 200 feet into the park. I like to bring a variety of cheese, some wine, and crusty bread and we bring a pizza for the kids.
I hope those of you who visit Martha’s Vineyard love it as much as I do. It really becomes a piece of your heart once you know what her secrets are.
If you want all of my Martha’s vineyard recommendations, including Where to Eat, then subscribe to my Quarterly Newsletter, Jettied Story, to keep an eye out for my upcoming E-Book on Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Martha’s Vineyard.
We all could use anything that makes our lives easier when traveling, especially with children. Here are some amazing options to help you plan your next vacation.
#1 SEND LUGGAGE AHEAD
One of the biggest travel related questions and complaints I hear about is checked luggage and carry-ons. Flights, whether nonstop or not, always have a maximum weight and size before there is an upcharge. Also, you need to get to the airport in time to check in your luggage as opposed to arriving with just a carry-on. Best suggestion I have always is to send your luggage ahead of your vacation. This works for golf clubs, ski gear, water sports gear, and practically anything and everything. It really is a fairly easy operation and there are many companies out there that do this. In fact, I have at least four on my supplier list. You do however need to compare which options work best for you and whether they have a pickup and delivery service to and from your home or to and from your hotel or cruise ship. There is even a service where you never have to touch your luggage at all. A valet is responsible for your luggage from your home to your location, from your location to the next location and/or back to your home. They will unpack and pack your luggage as well. So if you really can’t stand packing, unpacking and carrying luggage every time you travel then this is an option for you to consider. This is not only a convenience but a time saver in regards to pre-and post airport departures and allows you to start your vacation earlier.
#2 RENT CAMERAS, LENS, AND GOPROS
I’m a huge photography buff, and so I typically carry not only my iPhoneX but also my DSLR and a GoPro anytime I travel. If you’re anything like me and you love to take over the top fabulous pictures on vacation with more than just your phone, but you don’t own the latest go pro or DSLR or maybe you don’t have the appropriate lenses you would want in order to take the type of pictures you need these services are for you. This is actually one of the best options I’ve ever found. When I took my trip to South Africa last March, I knew I needed a couple of lenses and a DSLR for my son to use. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars purchasing new lenses to use them maybe once a year. Several companies have tons of photo equipment for you to rent. All of the best brands, such as Nikon, Canon, and others as well. Even if you just need the lenses, they provide all types to fit all brands for all purposes. The process is typically easy. You either request them to mail it to your home or office or if you’re close enough you can drive and pick it up. Lucky girl here, I happen to have a spot not too far from my house. It always comes with a case to protect the item and also has the option to purchase insurance in case something goes wrong and it needs to be replaced. The great thing about this also is that they usually have people on hand to help you decide which lens you might need or which camera might be best as well as provide pointers for the shots you wish to take. Many places also provide rentals for tripods, GoPros, and other accessories. You will look like a true professional photographer on vacation and return with some pretty awesome pictures.
#3 BRING A SWEET TREAT
This travel tip I learned from a fellow colleague years ago. Bring the airline attendants chocolate. What do I mean? Just pick up a family size bag of M&Ms or some other sort of chocolate (typically sans nuts), which can be separated and handed out easily among them. Place them in your carry-on bag and take them out when you go through TSA screening. Now ideally you should bring at least a bag per flight, so if you have a connecting flight you bring two bags. Additionally, you can bring a third smaller bag for the two or three gate attendants as well. Once you arrive at the gate hand a bag over to one of the attendants and thank them for dealing with the same questions and concerns a hundred times every flight. Then when you step on the plane ask for the head flight attendant. Let them know you appreciate their service and patience with everyone flying and just wanted to give them a token of that appreciation and hand them the candy. Don’t forget to let them know it’s for all of the flight attendants to share. Do this for every flight you go on whether nationally or internationally. I’m not saying this practice will get you bumped up to first class but it might give you a few freebies and at the very least an extremely pleasant travel experience. Plus it always makes everyone feel better to give something to someone totally unexpected. Try it and let me know how it works out for you.
#4 VIP SERVICE FROM PLANE TO HOTEL
Who says you’re not VIP! Here’s another way to fast track the start of your vacation. Almost every major city abroad and many larger Caribbean islands offer many varieties of VIP travel services from the airplane door or gate through immigration and customs. Literally, you could be off your plane and into your private car within 20 minutes max. I know you all have heard of transfer services which meet and greet you at the exit after you’ve already passed through immigration, grabbed your luggage, and then went through customs. This is completely different. With this service, a person will greet you either at the plane door or at your gate of arrival and whisk you off, separated from everyone else, to the front of immigration and then off to grab your luggage and fast track you through customs. Some even offer services where you are taken through a private immigration and customs office separated from the average traveler. If you combined this option with the luggage option above (#1) you will fully maximize every second of your time on vacation. Not only is it efficient but also exclusive. You fancy now! Everyone else on the plane and in the airport for that matter will be wondering who you are. They will just be getting into their transfers, taxis, and Ubers when you will already be on the beach or in the hotel bar with a drink. These VIP travel services differ with each company in different locations and in different airports so it’s best to just see which options are available and work best for your needs. It’s totally worth it!
#5 MOBILE PASSPORT
Last and totally not least is one of the best fast track options once you arrive back on American soil. Many people have pre-check or global entry and are aware of just how fast those items can get you through TSA in America. But pre-check really doesn’t do anything for you on your return. Global Entry fast tracks you for your return but you still have to stop at a kiosk and fill out the questionnaire before heading to the dedicated immigration line. Both of these items come with a cost, although we all believe it’s value is worth way more than its price. Well, let me tell you about Mobile Passport. This option is an app you can upload on to your phone, whether it’s an iPhone or an android and it’s completely free. I thought I’d catch your attention there! Yep, I save the best for last. Once you place the app on your phone, it will ask you to upload a copy of your passport as well as ask you for some additional information. Then when you are on your return flight as soon as you land, you open the app and complete the immigration form and take your picture. You can do this for your entire family traveling with you as long as they live in the same household. You will then receive a barcode to show officials. After getting off the plane you head past the line for the kiosk showing the attendant your Mobile Pass on your phone and straight to the Mobile Pass immigration line. Many times it’s the same line as those who have Global Entry (look for the signs which say Mobile Passport). Currently, you may use this at three cruise ports, Port of Palm Beach, Port of Miami, and Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and 25 international airports. The online process is only good for four hours so make sure that you complete the process when you land and not before take off in case of any delays. Almost always, I breeze past the people who have Global Entry through both immigration and customs. Best kept secret ever!
What tips do you have for more effortless travel? We love to hear them! As you know sharing is caring and click below to catch up on any of our other blog post you may have missed. Contact us for amazingly, effortless luxury vacations giving you time to take care of the things only you can do!
Travel is an amazing thing. It allows us to do things sometimes we've never dreamed of and a Safari is one of those things. It is not for everyone though so keep reading to see which side of the fence you fall.
There’s a lot of self-control that goes along with a safari. Self-control? I know this sounds crazy but it’s true. I mean most people like animals, who doesn’t like animals. You should probably love animals though if you planning to go on the Safari. I mean the type of love that makes you want to swim with dolphins or dive with sharks, and even ride camels in the deserts of the Middle East. Because any sudden reactions during animal interactions could result in you, someone else, or the animal getting hurt or even worse killed. You should also know that you have some really, really early but spectacular mornings. The beds, which are so comfortable, and the stillness and quietness of the night will fight to keep you cozied up for a few hours more but your tracker will be leaving with or without you in 30 minutes. This is the biggest difference as during safari you are getting up at five or six to be ready for your morning trek. What's a girl to do? Remember that self-control.
African safaris aren’t about being fashionable, in fact in order to get there many require a small plane or long bumpy four-wheel-drive ride on dirt roads and little room for luggage. There is sort of a typical uniform for going on Safari which incorporates varying shades of beige, gray, olive green, and light brown for shirts, pants, and hats. Then in some areas malaria pills are highly suggested, others you need shots, and for all of them you need sunblock and bug spray. It’s all worth it in the end.
Your day starts off with a light breakfast, although the spread offers many choices and one won’t go hungry. Here’s where it becomes a bit tough for some as you track for animals. At some point, usually pretty early on sometimes even on your drive from the airport, you realize you’re only a few feet away from a wild animal. That animal could be a springbok, an elephant, a herd of buffalo, zebras, or even lions and hyenas. There’s nothing like your first feeling of fear when you are literally less than a stone's throw away from an animal that can end your life. It is an amazing thrill but at the same time you need a lot of self-control to keep from freaking out. You soon realize the animals really don’t care about you, and more importantly your tracker and/or driver has a gun. The beauty of these creatures is amazing especially viewing them in their own habitat. So different from going to any zoo. Of course, you’re briefed before your first trip on what to do and not do and your tracker/guide has done this many times over. Your fear soon subsides as you realize you need to just live in the moment.
All of it’s quite magical. I mean you’re in the middle of nowhere (at least as far as us Americans can tell) within this oasis filled with running water, and luxe accommodations (many have pools and some even have spas). You’re eating the most amazing food prepared usually by locals who learn their chef skills by assisting in the kitchen of one of the lodges when they were younger. You really get to see nature at its best and hundreds of stars light up the night's sky. For me it was full of a-ha moments and Wanderlust. It brought me back into a time where things were a lot simpler, quieter, and people relied on all their senses and truly enjoyed life's simplicity.
Now, if you’re anything like my mom (sorry mom) who screams and stomps if she sees an iguana or anything similar in the US then a safari is probably not for you. If you’re fascinated by animals and are able to exhibit self control over any reactionary motions then a safari should be on your to-do list and sooner rather than later.
Is a safari for you or are you like my mother and would rather stick to human sightings? I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions so comment below.
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When was the last time you went away on a girls trip or by yourself? Have you found yourself wondering when you’re going to be able to take the time to get away? This is definitely something that not only I but my girlfriends have thought about consistently. In between doing the laundry, cleaning up vomit, walking the dogs, sending emails, ironing their partner’s shirts, scheduling appointments, and running to the grocery store, we dream about sleeping in and no one calling out mom, a phone ringing, or emails coming in, and even going to the bathroom without a child interrupting.
We do so much for everyone else and always put ourselves last. We know why we do it. I know why I do it. I love my children! I love my parents, and I really love my career but am I showing that same amount of love to myself? Are you? Not really! All of this giving, giving, and giving some more leads to us being completely depleted. It’s how you become stressed, sick, and rundown. You’re no good to anyone in that status.
There are plenty of times when I say you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. But we never stick to that model for ourselves. I know I need to recharge more, and I know I need to commit to doing it. The best way I’ve found so far is to travel. Just get away. So that’s what I started doing.
I remember my first trip solo. I was pregnant with my second child and I escaped to Jamaica for a long weekend by myself. It was pure bliss. I had a king size bed, oceanfront views, a butler, room service, a TV, a book, and several magazines. I went from sleeping in, to ordering in, to the pool, to taking a nap, to swimming in the ocean and reading a book on the beach. I pretty much did whatever I wanted to do.
Things changed after my second baby for a long time. I shortly thereafter became a single mom and was either working or spending time with my children. I never had a night or day off. The lack of self-care caught up with me real quick. I found myself yelling, stressing, and just not enjoying my children grow up.
At the time I couldn’t get away for longer than maybe 24 hours. So I booked a water view room at the Grand Hyatt Tampa and told no one. Everyone knew I was off the grid for 24 hours but no one knew where it was except for one person. I committed to no cell phone or social media so I could just focus on myself and doing what made me happy whatever that may have been. Since then been advising my girlfriends, and clients to do the same. Take that weekend trip to the Caribbean! Escape for 24 hours in your own city! Get away from everything and everyone, all the noise and enjoy yourself.
It is unbelievable how little it takes to return to the person you once were. We have to stop making excuses for ourselves. You can’t just get away and not take care of yourself the same way you take care of your children, partner, career, or your mom. You have to do it and do it well. Travel somewhere you have been before or travel somewhere new. Even better, go on a girls trip.
Bottom line, have the vacation you want to have and come back rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world. I believe the ideal time to take a time out would be once every three months but we know that’s not truly possible most of the time or for many of us. But definitely, do it once a year if not twice and don’t feel guilty about it. That’s the great thing about travel, it takes you away from your everyday life, feeds your soul, heals your heart, strengthens your core, and allows you to be you.
If you don’t know how or where to start and you don’t want to do it alone, I have created a women’s retreat that allows you to be the best version of yourself. Most retreats are typically packed with things to do and you really don’t get a chance to rest or choose what you want to do. This three day weekend provides plenty of time to pamper yourself, rest, enjoy other women, and commit to taking care of you. Check all the details here.